Act 192, signed by Gov. Tom Corbett on Nov. 6, has municipalities across the state rethinking their gun laws in fear of lawsuits from the NRA and other like-minded organizations.
The Act permits residents and organizations such as the National Rifle Association to sue municipalities that enact their own gun restrictions outside of state laws, opening the door to being forced to pay legal fees if they lose a lawsuit, in addition to any monetary damages.
Munhall borough is the latest municipality to bow to pressure from the threat of a lawsuit. Munhall councilors are preparing to repeal an ordinance regarding lost or stolen guns that requires gun owners to report their lost or stolen weapons within three days after noticing they are missing. It was passed about two years ago.
“Firearms are regulated by the state, and there (were) challenges raised to these local ordinances, whether or not local governments have the authority to regulate firearms,” borough Solicitor Greg Evashavik said at this month’s council meeting. “Recent legislation confirms that they may not.”
Not everyone was happy about taking the action. “It’s not something I ever intended to do,” Councilman Bernie Shields said of repealing the ordinance. “The borough can’t afford any lawsuits. It’s the smart thing to do.”
Council president Dan Lloyd is quite happy that the law is being rescinded. “This law was passed as a crime prevention measure,” he said. “It does absolutely nothing to prevent crime, as a gun used in a commission of a crime can make an unknowing victim out of an innocent person whose gun was stolen. I made a passionate argument against passing it, but if it sounds good and feels good, and it’s popular, council will enact it rather than take the time to analyze the workings of an ordinance. I was the only no vote.”
Other boroughs are also bowing to pressure and repealing stolen gun laws. West Mifflin council rescinded its lost or stolen gun ordinance earlier this month, and Homestead council is expected to do the same at its January meeting.
Open carry laws and other common-sense measures are also being rescinded.
Doylestown Council reluctantly voted Monday night to advertise the repeal of an ordinance prohibiting the discharge of firearms except in self-defense and two other laws barring the open carrying of guns in public parks and parking lots. The proposed repeal is expected to be approved at the January council meeting.
Threatening lawsuits is the new way for the right to intimidate cities, states, and even universities into compliance. The lawsuits are repealing laws or policies that often were put into place by local voters.
It’s an easy and effective way for the NRA to override the will of the people.
The NRA hasn’t even filed any papers for lawsuits yet — but they’re already getting their way — with dozens of municipalities preparing to repeal laws and bend to their wishes.
“It’s an easy and effective way for the NRA to override the will of the people.” Except they voted for it.
I can see both sides of this. Each municipality cannot enact their own laws going against basic state laws, but I cannot understand why anyone would want to fight against the proper reporting of stolen guns. How did the NRA come to have so much control anyway?
By exploiting fear.
The NRA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the firearms industry and acts both as the industry’s lobby and its propaganda arm. There are now more than 300 million firearms of one kind or the other in the US–nearly one for every citizen. Laws and regulations in a well-governed nation with sensible laws would limit the number of instruments of murder and mayhem among the population and regulate their use. And in fact, we used to be such a nation and our government at every level did afford us this protection.
But all of this has gone by the boards in the name of profit. The dark god stalks the land and we worship at its altar.
Anyway, it’s not the NRA–it’s the gun industry. And until we grow up and recognize what we’re doing by ourselves, the industry will continue to run roughshod over state and local governments who dare to express the will of the governed by regulating the flow of weapons into their jurisdictions. But this will only happen when American United is overturned; and when the absurd notion, now sanctioned by the Supreme Court, that the second amendment prevents gun regulation, is finally rejected.
What are you talking about?
1) The NRA has many, many individual donors and members — they are not at all “a wholly owned subsidiary… [blah blah blah]”
2) “our government at every level did afford us this protection”. Which? The limitation of weapons? Or the “regulation” of use? Either way, no. As a PA resident, I can assure you limitations and regulations were never severe.
3) “American United”?? Are you catching a flight? Do you mean Citizens United? And, what would that have to do with guns? Is freedom of speech also an issue for you?
Cities should be able to enact reasonable laws without fear of being sued by a large organization like this. The need to report a stolen firearm would seem to be common sense to me and it’s a protection for the gun owner, should a crime be committed with that weapon. I don’t understand why the NRA would be against it, anyway.
The idea is to crimnalize legal gun owners. If a legal gun owner has his gun stolen without his knowledge of the gun being missing and that gun is used in a crime then it will soon become a felony to the legal gun owner. It is NEVER EVER going to be the fault of a tool that harms someone it is always going to be the fault of the individual. When a hammer goes bezerk and kills 3 people, do you ban all the hammers? This is the same logic to the idiots who have never read the facts on gun ownership and Constitutional Rights.